Clarification for Business Owners Regarding Employment Law
Emeryville’s minimum wage and sick leave ordinance received some additional rules recently.
The new rules add clarification and cover some differences between the City’s ordinance and State law.
Minimum Wage Cannot Lower
Emeryville’s minimum wage is linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) starting in January 2019. In 2018, the new minimum wage will raise to $15 an hour.
Previously neither the ordinance, the rules, or the FAQ addressed what would happen if the CPI drops.
Under the new rules, if the SPI decreases, the minimum wage will stay the same as the previous year. It will not drop or decrease.
Calculating Business Size
Emeryville’s ordinance differentiates small businesses as a business that has 55 or fewer employees and large businesses as those with 56 or more employees.
Under the old rules, employers must calculate their business size quarterly if they had monthly or weekly fluctuations with employees.
However, under the new rules businesses must calculate size on a quarterly basis, even if they don’t have regular fluctuations.
Staffing Agencies and Sick Leave
The new rules state that when a business hires an employee with a staffing agency, those temporary employees count as part of the business employee count. The staffing agency and the employer are considered co-employers and must ensure compliance with the sick leave law.
While the staffing agency provides the employee with sick leave accrual and paid sick leave, the amount of sick leave the employee earns is based on the size of the employer using the staffing agency.
In other words, an employee who is temporarily working at a large employer would earn up to 72 hours of sick leave, while another employee with the same staffing agency might only accrue up to 48 hours of sick leave in a year because they are working at a small employer.
Exempt Employees Accruing Sick Leave
The new rules conform to state law better by stating that exempt employees accrue sick leave based on a 40 hour work week.
This means that although exempt employees may work overtime, the overtime hours do not accrue additional sick leave hours.
Safe Time Versus Sick Time
Originally, the Emeryville Sick Leave Ordinance only specifically allowed for medical care and reasons stated in the California Labor Code. However, under the FAQ, safe time has been added as an allowed reason for sick leave.
The new FAQ states that employees who are victims of domestic violence can take sick leave to receive medical attention and psychological counselling, obtain social services, relocate, seek legal service, and take other action to protect themselves from further domestic violence.
- Medical care or psychological counseling
- To obtain social services
- To relocate
- To seek legal advice
- To take any other actions to protect themselves from further domestic violence.
Employer Documentation and Sick Leave Policies
Employers who have sick leave policies must have them in writing.
This could include any of the following employment policies: any policies around notice requirements to the employer and how the employee can notify the employer, Employee verification that leave use was lawful.
Employers should be careful and check with the California Sick leave Law documentation requirement, especially if leave is being earned concurrently for both California and Emeryville sick leave.
Other policies can include minimum leave usage increments, and employees using sick leave during hours they are scheduled to work outside of Emeryville, CA.
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Written by Annemaria Duran Last updated on September 12, 2017